Compare and contrast the utilitarian philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Which do you think is the more convincing moral theory, and why?
In terms of Utilitarianism, this assignment shall outline the philosophies of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. It shall firstly illustrate the ideas of Bentham and then follow on to compare and contrast those of Mill. To continue, the assignment will view the failing qualities in both the men's works. Bentham did leave a great deal unsaid in his work yet the fact that he allowed for individuality to be applied to his theory shall be revealed. To a large extent, the work of Mill was deeply valuable to the theory of Utilitarianism; however a number of aspects cannot be applied to all cases. Mill asserted his own preconceptions into his theory so that it could not always be found applicable. In consideration of these points I will explain why I believe Bentham's theory to be more convincing, or rather more appropriate.
Bentham preached that 'an act is morally right if it produces the greatest balance of pleasure (happiness) over pain' (Khan, 2002, online: www.jeromekahn123.tripod.com/utilitarianismtheethicaltheoryofalltimes/id4.html). He wrote a poem so as to make methods in decision making easy to remember;
'Intense, long, certain, speedy, fruitful, pure -
Such marks in pleasures and in pains endure
Such pleasures seek if private be they end
If it be public, wide let them extend
Such pains avoid, whatever be they view
If pains come, let them extend to few.'
(Bentham cited in Shimomisse, 1999, online: www.csudh.edu/phenom_studies/ethics/lect_3.htm).
By this poem Bentham describes different factors that are important in decision making. By 'intensity' he means the intensity of the pleasure or pain that an action may cause, by 'long'; the duration through which that pleasure or pain exceeds. In quoting...